From the classroom, to the Universe

Posts tagged “Telescopes

Clouds, Planets and DIY Spectrometer

We had an overnight stargazing activity at school. Thanks to <insert sarc mark here> the LPA, clouds quickly hid the view of Jupiter, good thing we savored a few minutes observing Venus.   As minutes of hopelessly waiting for skies to move bit, the rain started to pour. We have  to move down stairs and stay for there rest of the night, good thing is that we’re a bit prepared so we just did the DIY Spectrometer. It’s something made from a cd, box and razor blades and works by diffraction grating.

It was around 4am when the skies got a bit clear and we had the chance to enjoy the sights of Saturn in its majestic ring, Mars with polar caps and the crescent Moon.


Aperture Kills

I was able to get my hands on a 12 inch dobs of a Manila Cathedral School for their  star gazing activity.  Such a big telescope gives well detail on objects. I tried it and imaged Mars and Saturn using my webcam, but oh boy it was neck breaking  just to target the planets on the screen! But the pain is paid of the pleasure of the images produced from the 4 second clip I managed to capture.

The northern polar cap is now prominent

                                                    Mars in higher gain setting

More detail present in this image, Cassini division, bands etc.

Just Clouds

Clouds and rains,  that’s all that I had tonight.  No Draconids, No Moon.

Just clouds.

For the mean time, I just did some processing using Registax on an avi file of Jupiter that I captured a few days ago.

Raw Avi:



Finished Product:

When it’s OK to skip Breakfast

Mom’s best advice is to never skip break fast because  its the most important meal of the day, but not today, not this morning.  As I continue on my morning ritual, I saw Jupiter  still high on the western sky, inviting . Quickly, I grab my telescope and start to boot my laptop ready. With little time to set up  I didn’t bother to use Autostar controller, instead I resulted to manual control.  It was 5:30 am already, the sky is already bright and the sun is about to rise around 5:45am and I’m also about to get late to school.  I was able to capture 20 sec raw avi and abruptly packed my things up.

I went to work with an empty stomach but had a filled heart.

It was Gassendi.

I tried imaging the moon the night before the opening of classes. I was just randomly scanning through its surface details and then with no particular reason, this crater caught my attention. Not knowing what that lunar feature was, I tried comparing the picture to a program called Virtual Moon Atlas,

Alas! It was Gassendi.

A 110 km crater named after a French priest, philosopher, mathematician and of course, an astronomer

Jupiter never fails to give students the “WHOA!”

It was friday, October 29 , when our club stayed late at school to gaze at Jupiter. Rain in the morning till afternoon,  clouds covering the night sky and a Halloween Party of the high school department (which we actually enjoyed  :D) threatened to spoil the night, but we didn’t came home disappointed – Jupiter peeped through the clouds!

And as a science teacher and an astronomy club moderator, the most rewarding experience is  to see your students fascinated by astronomy, hear them say the “whoa” ,”ooh” and “wow!” , get them to ask questions about the universe- what is out there? is there life in that planet? how come there’s none ? how big is the universe and when did it all happen?  Things and questions like that will give you a hint that one way or another you had infected them with the astronomy bug and its a good news for me.

It was about  401 years since Galileo took a peep inside a telescope and it revolutionized  astronomy as a science. Because of it we came to know a lot of things our ancestors just imagined about.  Today though its seems that is and old discipline, especially in here in the Philippines,  and not as beneficial as other branches of science, astronomy as quoted from Dr. Muriel in his talk on SEAAN in RTU, that “Astronomy is or should be like a net, once you get hooked to it, you’ll get to love Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Even Biology… ” . And his statement gave me inspiration to pursue studying and teaching astronomy- in and out of the class and hope that some day, one or two or even dozens of future astronomers will soon emerge from these students .